Apogee Entertainment is my first of many publisher spotlights that I'll cover throughout PAX East 2022. Founded during the heyday of PC gaming, Apogee Entertainment utilized the knowledge of its gaming history and uses it as a way for other inspiring developers to find their mark. What made me interested in meeting with members of the team was very recent, when I received a chance to review Turbo Overkill.
During my review for Turbo Overkill, I mentioned how refreshing it was to play a game of this nature during this era. With many "Doom clones" out there now, some may call it a renaissance equal to the 90s. Armed with the knowledge that the devs for Turbo Overkill would be in attendance for PAX East 2022, I was determined to finish the review build. All seven levels took on average 40 minutes to clear. I don't want to admit how many deaths I accumulated. All that mattered is I made it to the end and all of my work led to this moment.
As one of the two games, I would visit Apogee Entertainment for, this one was very straightforward as my time was spent interviewing the game designer for the title itself. I had a chance to sit with Sam Prebble, founder of Trigger Happy Interactive and lead designer for Turbo Overkill. During our conversation, he let off some very insightful information about the project, plans and ideas that were scrapped, and a bit of a preview into the future.
Before developing Turbo Overkill, Prebble began his career as a level designer for several DOOM mods. Considering how rich the mod community is for DOOM even in 2022, that's the one role a developer who would create the ultimate "DOOM-like" game should have. There were several inspirations from various titles while keeping DOOM as a base until it became its own project in itself.
I brought up how the skill floor and point of entry for Turbo Overkill were low, as the game teaches you what you need to know in the first two levels. Veterans of games such as these would find that mechanics including "bunnyhopping" and "weapon switching" existed in this game.
Prebble states that the latter was an intended glitch that he wanted to keep in the game as it was reminiscent of games like DOOM Eternal which had a similar feature. Ultimate he decided to keep it in the game as a way to reward skillful players who know advanced techniques such as that. When it came to level design, being a modder for many years, he used his experience to create the most insane map he could. The creativity was limitless and he'd often have to stop from going overboard. In the later levels of Episode 1, this was greatly evident. The final level in Episode 1 features a train level segment because everyone knows every FPS title needs a train level.
He also answered questions including the mysterious missing alt-fire for the rocket launcher. Every weapon featured in the game has one except for the rocket launcher which seemed out of place. Prebble states that the original rocket launcher alt-fire was to fire multiple rockets at once, not unlike the one in Unreal Tournament. Implementing this proved to be a challenge in its current state, but he did mention that he'll find a way to give the iconic weapon its due respect. Other concepts like mod support are also plans for the future for similar reasons.
Finally, while he couldn't share too much about the future of Turbo Overkill, he did mention that one of the newer weapons introduced will be a sniper rifle-esque gun. Its primary fire would be like a railgun (which was just what the game was missing) with an alt-fire that allows the player to teleport to the enemy's location through the gun's scope and snipe them that way. Just hearing that description sounds super cool and that along with the grappling hook means we can expect crazier levels to complement these abilities.
Turbo Overkill is now in Early Access on Steam and it is something I personally highly recommend.
Here's the second game from Apogee I was interested in taking a look at because, like the former game, it's based on a genre I enjoy. The "open-world action-adventure" title has given birth to what many call the "Breath Of The Wild clone." In Elements defense, this term has a more endearing value to it as I got the chance to speak with Devon, founder of Wreckit Games and developer of Elements.
PAX East is one of the first events that this game had a feature presentation in, so the game was in a very early alpha state. I was placed in a middle of a sprawling world with a preset loadout of equipment including an ax and a shield. I had a glider and a mount, yet this mount was a blue dinosaur. That's what Elden Ring needs, a ridable dinosaur mount.
Eventually, I fought goblins and orcs with magic I found laying around, combining physical and ranged attacks in succession. Elements also have a bit of a crafting mechanic, allowing players to build facilities and grow crops as well. There's a lot of ambition and potential within this title and the reasoning behind its development is the most wholesome I've ever heard. The inspiration from Elements came from Devon wanting to play a game with his kids, so why not develop a game for his children and share it with the world? That said, this game was meant for children of all ages to enjoy.
I've always mentioned that there's a big difference between developing games targetted toward kids and creating games for kids. It's really easy to make the former, but to develop an experience that players of all ages can enjoy is a wonderful thing when executed properly. He showed me the concept art of the game and ideas for the game's progression.
Hearing it in his voice, it's safe to say that there's a lot of passion waiting to be executed. I'll love to keep up with the progression of the game's development from what I've played now to a future build down the line.
Elements has its own Steam page and can be wishlisted right now. It's slated for a release sometime in 2023.